Fluid Snags Eight IMA Awards for Top Retail, Fashion and Sports Websites

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Interactive Media Awards (IMA) honors digital shopping innovator with three “Best in Class” and five “Outstanding Achievement” awards for websites which “met and surpassed standards of website excellence.”

It’s great to see our shoppable video technology receiving recognition — we think it’s a natural evolution to use video to communicate features and benefits and deliver a more engaging product experience at the point of decision.

Digital shopping innovator Fluid Inc. kicked off 2011 with several podium slots for its client work in the 2010 Interactive Media Awards™, which recognize the highest standards of excellence in website design and development, and honor individuals and organizations for their outstanding achievement. Fluid received a total of eight awards: three “Best in Class” awards for interactive shopping websites developed by Fluid for DVF (Diane Von Furstenberg), Milly, and Vans; while work for Craftsman, Rachel Roy, Sears Yard Guru, Soap.com, and The North Face each received an “Outstanding Achievement” award.

“We’re thrilled that the judges at the IMA honored us with these awards! We're fortunate to work with great clients that want to push the limits of blending social media with highly branded shopping experiences,” said Andrew Sirotnik, chief experience officer at Fluid. “It’s also great to see our shoppable video technology receiving recognition — we think it’s a natural evolution to use video to communicate features and benefits and deliver a more engaging product experience at the point of decision. And, I’m really proud of our creative team — we definitely produced some of our best work ever last year!”

Diane von Furstenberg Social Catalog (Best in Class)
The DVF Fall Catalog propels the traditional concept of a catalog into the new world of social media. The challenge was to encourage sharing of the fashion products by bringing the highly social nature of the brand owner, Diane von Furstenberg, directly into the catalog itself. The design successfully unifies key elements of brand, interactivity, shopping and social media, and enables product-specific Likes, Tweets and links to help track referring traffic and the customer’s path through the social-shopping funnel.

Highlights: Fluid took a cross-platform approach, based on HTML5 technology, and developed a rich, interactive “shoppable” catalog that can be fully experienced on the iPad / iPhone. A branded “lookbook,” which combines video with the signature DVF “lips” icons, reinforces the distinct brand image. Shoppers can “Like” specific products for Facebook, or Tweet them to their friends. Each item has its own hashtag (e.g. #janebolero) and bit.ly link. Shoppers can also tweet/share/like the catalog as a whole.

Milly (Best in Class)
Fluid redesigned Milly’s site (millyny.com) with the vision of integrating a highly branded fashion experience with advanced ecommerce functionality. The goal was to create a design that could adapt to each season, tell the story of the brand and each collection, and make it a pleasure to shop. The resulting website captures the Milly brand, feels like a visually rich fashion experience, and seamlessly integrates shopping throughout.

Highlights: Fluid created a fully shoppable runway video that makes the customer feel like they have front row seats to the show. It includes a unique navigation filmstrip to allow customers to browse the video and jump directly to any Look. On rollover, customers can “shop the look” to pause the runway video and open a quick-shop window to add products to their bag. The thoughtful selection of background images for the site allows Milly to match design themes from their current fashion collection for a subtle, flexible branding — because fashion never stands still and neither should a fashion site.

Vans Custom Shoes (Best in Class)
The goal of Vans Customs is to help customers create custom-made shoes quickly and easily. The basics of custom product configuration have been attempted on many websites, but they often lack the social element — the personal connection and validation a customer gets from shopping with friends — and a rich product visualization experience, which can make designing a custom product a frustrating and unpredictable experience. The challenge was to overcome one of the biggest impediments to custom product sales: the inability to get immediate, visual validation of a design — in real time. By giving shoppers an instant, photorealistic rendering of color and design options from multiple angles, and providing ways to collaborate on and share their ideas, the Vans Customs site has driven a 150 percent increase in sales, and “sharing” of designs in excess of 500 per week.

Highlights: to maximize the social potential for the site, Fluid implemented “Social Shopping,” whereby a customer can invite a friend to a shared customization session, and “Collaborative Design,” so that friends can share their design ideas in real time and give each other feedback. Finally, customers can share their designs to their friends’ mobile devices.

Rachel Roy Facebook Fan Shop (Outstanding Achievement)
The client brief was to ignite frenzy over a new jewelry line by Jones Apparel’s Rachel Roy brand. The solution: launch an exclusive preview of the collection directly on the Rachel Roy Facebook Shop. Fluid took the concept of a limited-time, VIP-access pop-up shop and erected it in the middle of the most popular social networking site today. The result is a highly curated, fan-exclusive shopping experience. The results were incredible: the exclusive Facebook items sold out in less than six hours; Rachel Roy gained new fans at the rate of 1.5 per minute during the first day; and the Fanshop doubled the Facebook fan base within a week. The biggest surprise was the halo effect of the experience: it drove the third-highest revenue day on Rachel Roy’s e-commerce site at RachelRoy.com.

Highlights: To foster immediacy and exclusivity, Fluid created a fans-only shopping area directly on Facebook, offering Facebook-only products such as a ring style that was not part of the full collection. Fluid integrated social features such as “Share” and “Like” into the shop experience — and all the way down to the product detail pages — making it easy for everything in the store to be broadcast to shoppers’ social networks. To boost engagement, fans were treated to exclusive content about the making of the unique product line as they explored the shop, creating “behind the scenes” excitement, and giving them more to buzz about.

Craftsman Garage Planner (Outstanding Achievement)
Fluid wanted to create an immersive, interactive experience to enable Sears’ core Craftsman customer to design and purchase a garage storage solution customized to their individual needs. The resulting design for the Sears Craftsman Garage Planner inspires, entertains and guides consumers to their perfect solution. The experience is simple, visual and fun — key to engaging the audience. Equally important, the Sears Garage Planner platform is designed to scale and fully integrate with the Sears.com ecommerce foundation. Back-end asset management tools ensure a long “shelf life” and make it easy to keep the experience fresh and dynamic.

Highlights: Customers can browse a photo gallery to find inspirations and establish a starting point for designing their dream garage. Customers can shop directly from the inspiration photo, change the color scheme of products shown, and share the page with friends. To differentiate Craftsman from the competition (which often take a complex, CAD-like approach that quickly becomes frustrating) Fluid designed an intuitive, tactile and visual customer experience that uses realistic renderings of storage options in the context of a garage.

Sears Yard Guru (Outstanding Achievement)
The Sears Yard Guru project involved a redesign of the 2009 Lawn & Garden Finder (Ultimate Tractor Experience) for the Spring 2010 season. The purpose of the Yard Guru is to help customers find the best outdoor equipment for their specific needs. Using a fully 3D design palette, Fluid’s goal was to show how the pricing and features for Sears tractors and mowers were equal to or better than its main competitors, while delivering a rich “Blue Crew” brand experience, improved product merchandising, and increased sales volume and profitability. Sears featured the Yard Guru experience in their TV spots — a clear indication of a successful visual implementation.

Highlights: Fluid designed a guided, interactive 3D experience to make the process of finding the right tractor or mower easy and engaging. With just a click of a button, customers can compare the prices and features of a Sears product to similar products from competitors. A key to the success of the project was to design a “digital handoff” to the Sears Blue Crew Associates to allow customers still in the consideration phase to keep track of information from home.

Soap.com Site (Outstanding Achievement)
Building on the success of the award-winning Diapers.com site, Soap.com was conceived as a way to make it easy to purchase the everyday products you find at your local drugstore. The complex design challenge for this much-anticipated launch was to: (1) find effective ways to visually merchandise a wide variety of (often mundane) product categories; (2) provide an integrated customer experience to attract the Diapers.com site audience; and (3) do all this without losing focus on creating a strong new brand, out of the gate. The design of Soap.com is fresh, bright and, above all, simple. The look is clean and modern with retro accents, delivering an experience that is familiar yet innovative where it counts.

Highlights: While the wide differences in product types present a real challenge to merchandise effectively, the Soap.com site provides a great branded user experience that is at the same time optimized for conversion and ongoing increases in average order size. Shopper-friendly features help shoppers organize and remember the items they regularly order and provide a shopping cart that interoperates with the Diapers.com site. A multi-faceted navigation system makes it easy to quickly sort through the tens of thousands of household items in the Soap.com catalog, and comparison swatches for cosmetics aid the merchandising items that are traditionally difficult to visualize.

The North Face (Outstanding Achievement)
The goal was to re-imagine the digital shopping experience for The North Face’s award-winning site and deliver a best-in-category brand and shopping experience. As an outdoor brand, The North Face originally focused on selling gear and streamlining the shop flow from interest to purchase. Fluid’s execution integrates their brand story and rich heritage of over 60 years of expeditions around the world into the online experience, and brings their sponsored-athlete stories to life.

Highlights: Fluid redesigned the user experience of the global site navigation to simplify the process of activity-based shopping, and integrated video, social and rich interactivity into the shopping pages, with content accompanying and showcasing the product in real situations. A simplified Product Detail Page drove increased sales, and integrated social sharing such as Facebook “Like” functionality, Facebook Connect and video segments to augment product display.

How the work was judged
For each entry, the judges considered various criteria, including design, usability, and innovation in technical features, standards compliance and content. To merit these awards, the site had to meet strict guidelines in each area — an achievement only a fraction of sites in the IMA competition earn each quarter.

About the Interactive Media Awards
The Interactive Media Awards™ recognize the highest standards of excellence in website design and development and honor individuals and organizations for their outstanding achievement. Created by the Interactive Media Council Inc. (IMC), a nonprofit organization of leading web designers, developers, programmers, advertisers and other web-related professionals, the competition is designed to elevate the standards of excellence on the Internet and offer winners a boost in marketing and exposure. IMC serves as the primary sponsor and governing body of the Interactive Media Awards, establishes the judging system and provides the judges for the competition.

Fluid: Digital Shopping Innovation
Fluid’s technologies create engaging customer experiences that drive conversion, satisfaction and brand loyalty. Fluid delivers these results though custom agency engagements and the Fluid Retail Experience Platform. Founded in 1990 and with offices in San Francisco and New York, Fluid’s customers range from mass-market retailers to luxury goods manufacturers, and include top brands such as: Diapers.com, Coach, Nine West, Pottery Barn, Reebok, Sears, The North Face, and Vans. For more information, visit http://www.fluid.com and follow us on Twitter @Fluid or Facebook FluidInc.

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